Securing recycling material flows for the circular economy

A framework for analyzing material flows in the US plastic recycling industry.

Borner, Daniel, 2023

Art der Arbeit Master Thesis
Betreuende Dozierende Eisenbart, Barbara
Keywords Circular economy, sustainability, value chain, material flows, recycling, manufacturing
Views: 6 - Downloads: 2
Due to a shift towards sustainability, recapturing the value of plastic materials has become of great importance. As the supply for plastic materials is not rising at the same rate as the demand, resource scarcity and higher material prices challenge market players. However, many manufacturers still follow a linear business model, in which the moment a resource is fed into the economy the resource will eventually be lost. The concept of circular economy (CE) provides an opportunity to shift from such linear resource flows to circular ones, thereby circulating products and materials more frequently. CE is defined as a system in which every part of a product is considered valuable until its end of life. The US market especially offers a great opportunity to implement CE principles due to its size and potential to become a leading global supplier of secondary plastics. This paper addresses the lack of a framework for analyzing and securing plastic material flows in a CE in the context of the US plastic recycling market.
The objective is achieved by implementing the design science research methodology. A thorough literature review, combined with a series of nineteen interviews and subsequent collection of data, resulted in the development of the artefact. This consists of a material sheet and utility analysis which enables a dynamic evaluation of potential partners for US plastic manufacturers. Also, a conceptual model for analyzing value recapturing and resource decoupling in linear versus circular resource flows is proposed. This conceptual model is revised and subsequently extends the current knowledge and adds to the existing theory of resource decoupling and value capturing specifically for the US market.
Overall, by engaging in collaboration and increasing transparency across value chains, these manufacturers can increase their circularity and thus recapture value of their products and resources. The study clearly indicates a need for such collaboration and knowledge sharing to secure recycling material flows in a CE.
Studiengang: Business Information Systems (Master)
Vertraulichkeit: öffentlich
Art der Arbeit
Master Thesis
Autorinnen und Autoren
Borner, Daniel
Betreuende Dozierende
Eisenbart, Barbara
Sprache der Arbeit
Business Information Systems (Master)
Standort Studiengang
Circular economy, sustainability, value chain, material flows, recycling, manufacturing